Genetic variability, local selection and demographic history: genomic evidence of evolving towards allopatric speciation in Asian seabass

Wang et al. MolecularEcology(2016)25,3605–3621

Genomewide analysis of genetic divergence is critically important in understanding the genetic processes of allopatric speciation. We sequenced RAD tags of 131 Asian seabass individuals of six populations from South-East Asia and Australia/Papua New Guinea. Using 32 433 SNPs, we examined the genetic diversity and patterns of population differentiation across all the populations. We found significant evidence of genetic heterogeneity between South-East Asian and Australian/Papua New Guinean populations. The Australian/Papua New Guinean populations showed a rather lower level of genetic diversity. FST and principal components analysis revealed striking divergence between South-East Asian and Australian/Papua New Guinean populations. Interestingly, no evidence of contemporary gene flow was observed. The demographic history was further tested based on the folded joint site frequency spectrum. The scenario of ancient migration with historical population size changes was suggested to be the best fit model to explain the genetic divergence of Asian seabass between South-East Asia and Australia/Papua New Guinea. This scenario also revealed that Australian/Papua New Guinean populations were founded by ancestors from South-East Asia during mid-Pleistocene and were completely isolated from the ancestral population after the last glacial retreat. We also detected footprints of local selection, which might be related to differential ecological adaptation. The ancient gene flow was examined and deemed likely insufficient to counteract the genetic differentiation caused by genetic drift. The observed genomic pattern of divergence conflicted with the ‘genomic islands’ scenario. Altogether, Asian seabass have likely been evolving towards allopatric speciation since the split from the ancestral population during mid-Pleistocene.

Published Sep. 29, 2016 8:51 AM - Last modified Sep. 14, 2018 4:07 PM